My name is Rick and I am a Stay-at-home Dad and Musician. I've been writing songs since 2000, and last year I finished my first solo album! Then, I was so excited about the recording process, I kept the momentum going and finished a second album a few months later!
When I finished these songs, I sent them to several of my musical friends for feedback. I was delighted to find that the response to my music was overwhelmingly positive, but not just as in, "Good songs, bro," or "Nice guitar part, dude," (Yeah, I'm a surfer). Rather, I found my friends were affected by the songs, convicted about their roles as a parent, encouraged and moved emotionally. It was more than I could ask for, a fulfillment of every songwriter's intention.
And so, one friend and collaborator, Robb Gilligan III of Amber City Studio, encouraged me to professionally mix and master the songs so that they would be put out into the world at the highest level I could manage, and that's what has led us here. He finished the first single off the album, "Your Light," which you can listen to here:
Please consider donating towards the professional mixing and mastering of as many songs as we can raise money for! Our minimum goal of $2500 will cover an EP (5-7 songs) of the best tracks from the two albums. After that, $4000 will get us an LP (11-14) of the best songs. (Anything over or between goals will go towards more songs, art direction, promotion and/or album distribution.)
My songs are simple and relatable, without being cliché or monotonous. I love stories and feel like each song tells one, but that these albums are more comprehensive as a collection. I have come to really believe in this music as a powerful message that is seldom heard in today's culture: The stay-at-home Dad who loves God, his wife and kids, and humbly considers his place in the world, wanting to share those ideas, struggles and life lessons with as many people as will listen.
Thank you for reading and watching, and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together!
Here are some details of what Robb at Amber City will be doing.
EDITING: Editing can make or break a project. All modern music production you hear today uses editing to create a tight, professional sound, and dates back to decades ago when recordings were on tape; they would physically cut and splice pieces of tape together to make an edit if the timing was off -- the same goes for today, and editing is one of the key elements in music production to get tracks sounding professionally competitive. The editing process can fix little mistakes in the performances like timing and pitch, and can enhance the overall composition in a way that gets all the individual tracks playing tightly together, AKA “gelled” together.
MIXING: Mixing is the process of blending all the individual tracks in a recording to create a version of the song that sounds as good, polished, and professional as possible.
The mix process can include:
- Balancing the volume levels of the tracks that have been recorded.
- Fine-tuning the sound of each instrument or voice using tools such as Equalization (EQ), Compression, Multi-Band-Compression, De-Essing, Limiting, Saturation, etc.
- “Panning” the tracks between speakers to create a nice stereo image.
- Adding FX such as reverbs, echo-delays, chorusing, distortion, etc., to enhance the three-dimensional space and to make things sound cool and vibey -- AKA add some ear candy.
All of these steps prevent the song from sounding, dull, muddy, harsh, flat, uncontrolled, and amateurish.
MASTERING: Mastering is the final touch in the process, and applied after mixing. It deals mostly with dynamic range and overall tone. It brings up the master loudness to a commercial sound level, polishes the mix with gentle stages of EQ, Compression & Limiting, and also balances levels from song to song when dealing with a collection of songs such as an EP or LP album (as opposed to a single), so that songs on an album play smoothly and cohesively from one to the next.
About Rick and Robb:
RICK BICKERSTAFF was born in Charleston, SC and learned to play his first instrument, the viola, back in 1995. He continued with a classical foundation through middle and high school, later picking up guitar and co-starting Minus the Standard, a pop-punk band that recorded one full-length album. During that time, he joined his high school church worship band and learned the valuable skill of playing in front of people with little-to-no preparation (true story). In college, Rick played in Thrash Choir, an acoustic-punk duo, and after graduating, he joined Campfield, playing bass for the three-piece; finding a new home on the new instrument. Together they recorded a full length album, with a reunion EP of new material coming out in 2019. He continued playing in churches, focusing more on drums though, and so rounding out his skills as an all-around musician. After moving to Los Angeles in 2009, he wrote more music than ever, picking up the banjo and harmonica, and began collaborating with talented singers and musicians to compile these two albums.
ROBB GILLIAN III has over a decade of experience in pro-audio, and has dedicated a career to his deep passion for the music creation process. Along the way, life has taken him to very unique studio positions in Los Angeles where he learned & worked alongside world-class engineers for big name artists' recordings such as Metallica, Kid Rock, Adele, Josh Groban, ZZ Top, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. These experiences, among many others, have grown Robb’s expertise & professionalism, and thus fuel his zeal for excellence in every project that enters his studio. He and Rick met and bonded quickly over their shared interest in 90s punk and ska music. They go to shows together whenever they can, and have even collaborated on a punk passion project called Free Pizza.
Risks and challenges
Sound is spun around our ears all day long like we are sitting in the middle of a sonic blender. But even with the overwhelming quantity of good music (along with the noise), the power of it all cannot be denied, both for its emotive qualities as well as its messages. As a stay-at-home father who also writes music, I feel like I have a unique voice in the midst of all of that chaos, with a message that is important to share.
Now if I just throw another thing at you to listen to that has NOT been professionally mixed and mastered, your ears may recoil. It's like watching a student film: the content might be there, but it's just kind of hard to watch for lack of production quality. And so, if I want as many people to hear these songs as possible, I need to present them in a competitive fashion.
Unfortunately this part of music making is rather expensive. Thankfully, I've done most of the ground work by recording everything (with guidance from Robb), which is cutting the costs on making these albums by a ton (a typical album costs around $20,000-30,000 to make). Also, Robb is giving me a great discount without sacrificing quality of work, so we are getting high-quality music for a fraction of the cost!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (16 days)